In successfully planning for retirement, you must remember to take long term care costs into great consideration. These expenses can cause a devastating blow not just to your savings but your family members’ as well. Despite the constant push for Americans to find coverage early, many still delay or forgo long term care coverage because of the initial costs.
Choosing not to pay for coverage may be convenient at first, but it can put you in a compromising position in the later years. Aging comes with higher chances of illness, disability, and frailty—all of which require care services. Even with frequent exercise and a balanced diet, anyone can still end up needing care. In fact, the US Department of Health and Human Services reminds that over 70% of Americans need long term care after turning 65. In the end, being safe is still better than being sorry.
Maintain your well-being and financial assets in the future through preparation for sustaining the costs of long term care. Here are three basic preparation guidelines that come with additional details:
Planning for Long Term Care
From a basketball game to a house party, planning often means the difference between success and failure. The same principle can be said for your post-retirement life. A comprehensive plan can help you enjoy your latter years even if you develop an age-related illness. You have to assess several factors in order to accomplish a detailed and effective plan for long term care.
Examine Your Financial Resources
Take a look at your income and get an overview of how much is at your disposal. You can check the amount in your savings account along with your retirement plan account. As you know, a 401(k) plan is an ideal financial resource because it accumulates a large sum of money securely. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, collect your monetary contributions, so you can withdraw them later in life with some privileges. Some of the types of IRAs are Traditional IRA, SEP IRA, Roth IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and Spousal IRA. Use your retirement funds to support the costs of care.
Bear in mind that in some situations, you may need to seek help from a family member. Often, this task falls on the shoulders of an adult child. In fact, 50% of caregivers are providing care to aging mothers. In this situation, caregiving does not only entail physical assistance. This may include support in financing long term care costs.
Consider Legal Implications
In securing coverage during long term care planning, one of the best steps that you can do is to consult elder law attorneys. They can help you prevent mishaps with federal government programs and numerous other legal issues concerning long term care insurance and other legal documents.
It is also advisable to get help from legal experts when you proceed in creating an advance directive. This legal document states your intentions when you are unable to communicate because of severe illness. This aids family members in carrying out your wishes regarding care, which is why you should include them in the discussion.
Assess Your Health As Well
In some instances, a plan for long term care ultimately depends on a recipient’s medical condition. Consult your physician about your lifestyle’s implications to your health. It is also recommended to bring forward your family’s medical history to determine possible health implications. If you are keen on minimizing care costs, you can try adopting a healthier lifestyle by exercising regularly, abstaining from harmful substances, and keeping your mind engaged.
Look Into Various LTC Options
Although aging in place is rapidly gaining popularity among retirees, sometimes, transferring to a care facility is the only option. And the ones that provide quality care do not come cheap. This is why it matters for you to look into nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult day care centers in your area. Determine the costs of receiving care from these venues, and see if your finances are enough to cover them.
As a reminder, facility rates vary depending on geographic location, care services involved, and other factors. Get more options for long term care by checking out multiple long term care insurance policies on the market.
Arranging Your LTCI Policy
Finding the right coverage and securing it early are both crucial steps in safeguarding yourself from the substantial costs of care. For many individuals facing retirement today, long term care insurance was the best option—and they do not regret the choices that the made. In fact, in a study done by LifePlans, Inc., roughly 90% of long term care insurance policyholders are satisfied with the coverage that they are getting. Moreover, 89% state that they did not have to purchase additional services on top of what is covered by their policy.
Find a Reliable Insurer
Admittedly, getting the right coverage can be tricky, and purchasing the wrong one can prove to be fatal to your finances. Talk to various individuals about it, and read the fine print. Set a meeting with an insurance specialist and request for long term care insurance quotes.
When you search for a reputable long term care insurer, take the time to look into its financial ratings. Platforms, such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Fitch, have detailed descriptions and ratings of insurance companies to give the people the necessary information before deciding. If you want to ensure stability and great service, choose an insurance carrier with a rating of A++, A+, AAA, or A.
Personalize Your Insurance Policy Options
Adjusting the details in your policy to fit your needs and finances is also a necessary step. Remember, what works for your peers might not work for you, so take the time to consult with insurance professionals in tailoring your policy to fit your needs.
Specify the insurance payment options indicated in your policy. Also, decide on a particular benefit amount, benefit period, and elimination period. Bear in mind that you can opt for a daily or a monthly benefit amount; this may depend on your preference and needs. If the care services you need are relatively affordable, then the daily benefit option might be suitable. Moreover, your benefit period might be determined by health condition, so speak with your physician regarding this matter.
As for the elimination period, 90% of American policyholders prefer the 90-day elimination period, but others still opt for shorter or longer periods. The general rule regarding this is that the shorter the elimination period, the higher the costs. However, remember that care received during this period is often paid out of pocket. If you are not willing to shell out too much, then going for a longer period may be best.
Get Benefit Riders for Your Policy
A benefit amount that builds up over time might sound too good to be true. To do so, you can look into acquiring an inflation protection rider for your policy. Pick the right type for your age and chances of requiring long term care.
Other useful riders for your long term care insurance policy are the return-of-premium rider and the shared coverage rider. The latter proves beneficial for married couples.
Managing Your Finances
Even with proper planning and a long term care insurance policy, you still need to guarantee stability for your finances. You run the risk of impoverishment if you lack control over your spending.
Here are tips that can help you preserve the stability of your finances, so you and your family do not worry about difficulties in funding long term care services.
List Down and Analyze Your Budget
Organize your budget by jotting down your income and expenditure. This is the right time to collect your receipts and keep them for safe keeping. Keep track of your bills for electricity, phone, etc. Remember to include expenses for food, cleaning materials, hygiene products, and other things you buy frequently. Do not forget the tuition fees of a family member who is still studying.
After that, list down your earnings. Your funds might originate from work income, retirement pension, insurance payments, and even financial support from relatives. If your total expenditure leaves little to your total earnings, you need to exert more efforts for proper budget management. Additionally, pay attention to the expenses that take more than necessary from your funds.
Minimize Your Shopping Expenses
It is advisable for you to look for lower prices instead of brands when buying goods. This method of shopping can save you much money – especially if products have minimal differences in quality. In fact, you can reduce expenses for long term care by purchasing generic drugs. However, you should consider buying non-perishable items of higher quality that last longer. Cheaper items often fall into disuse and break sooner. In the end, you incur an additional cost that could have been avoided in the first place.
Always remember to make a list of the things to buy before you go shopping. Only purchase the items in the list to avoid putting too much stuff in your shopping cart, which in turn leads to overspending.
Spend for Your Needs Instead for Your Wants
In given circumstances, people lose substantial money from their personal funds because they focus more on buying the stuff they want. You might need to disregard new appliances, gadgets, and even an overseas vacation to use the money for necessities, bills, and care expenses. This does not mean restricting your happiness. Rather, this is a way of ensuring adequate funds for your budget.
Remember these three keys for successful management of care expenses – planning, long term care insurance, and wise spending. They preserve not only your assets for a happy post-retirement life but also good relations with family and relatives.